Thursday, June 04, 2009

And then there's the ECONOMIC argument ...

We've heard the love argument, the justice argument and the theological argument -- just to name a few. Now it's time for the "show me the money" argument on why the time has come for marriage equality.

And here it is ... in the business section of this week's Newsweek Magazine:

In the five years since legalizing same-sex marriage, Massachusetts has gained $111 million in spending from gay weddings, according to a new study published by UCLA's Williams Institute, which studies sexual-orientation law and public policy. "That's money buying flowers, hotels, caterers, hiring a band—all the hings that go into a wedding," explains M. V. Lee Badgett, a coauthor of the study.

Typically, same-sex couples spent about $7,400 per wedding, says Badgett, an economist who is also director of UMass Amherst's Center for Public Policy & Administration, and one in 10 couples spent more than $20,000. And then there were the wedding guests: "We estimated that each same-sex couple was associated with $1,600 in hotel-occupancy tax revenue," she says.

Promises of a gay-wedding payoff are hardly new: back in 2004, a U.S. Congressional Budget Office analysis predicted that the federal government would benefit by nearly $1 billion in increased tax revenue each year if same-sex marriages were legalized in all 50 states and recognized by the federal government.

Read the whole thing here ... and then someone smarter than me get a calculator out and start doing the math on this equation:

$7400 per same-sex wedding TIMES the number of same-sex couples wanting to be married but denied equal protection by last month's Supreme Court decision PLUS the estimated $80 million spent by both sides on the Prop 8 campaign PLUS whatever donations are already coming in toward the next campaign for-and-against marriage equality EQUALS:

  • How much health care for children without medical insurance?
  • How many school teachers in classrooms instead of the unemployment office?
  • How many police officers on the streets protecting our families?
  • How much funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs?
  • How much infrastructure work to keep our roads safe and our bridges sound?
Do that math and then get back to me with how marriage equality is going to undermine western civilization and destroy our families. Do that math and explain to me why the happily-ever-after gay couple down the street is more a threat to your marriage than a tanking economy and shredded constitutional protections. Do that math and give me a call. I'll be all ears.


IT said...

As you wellknow, Susan, we in CA spent $83million fighting prop8.

It wasn't a fight we GLBT sought. It was a fight we were forced into to defend our rights, after the SCoCal decision in May 2008.

Our dollars followed theirs. They were the ones to escalate the fight.

And what did they win?

My wife and I married in Oct 2008. We are still married.

The world hasn't collapsed. We have a few morerights, andmany more complications.

What did that $83mil achieve fighting gay families that was worth taking it away from ALL families who need help?

WWJD indeed.

Brian F said...

This really is a stupid argument Susan and is beneath you as an ordained minister in God's church. You could just as readily justify the illegal drug trade or prostitution or abortion as being beneficial for the economy because of the employment those activities generate. Do you have no moral compass?


Brian ... Why yes, yes I do have a moral compass. That's the one that informed the aforementioned love, justice and theology arguments. This is just the economic argument. AND my moral compass tells me that spending untold millions of dollars to prevent marriage equality while kids don't have health care and classrooms don't have teachers IS immoral.

Brian F said...

Susan - if you are arguing that money spent lobbying for the next round of legal challenges or referenda ought to be spent on providing kids with health care etc, despite the fact that the money spent on lobbying on both sides comes from private sources whereas the money for health and education etc comes from the public purse, then by the same logic noone ought spend a cent on a same sex wedding but instead devote it to funding child health care etc. You seem to imply this yourself by including the $7,400 per couple in your formula.

I would suggest if the LGBT lobby left the State legislatures alone they would have more time, energy and money to devote to solving the other more serious social problems you list.

Now, maybe you could help me with the maths - approximately how many couples are waiting to spend $7,400 per wedding?


Get a grip, Brian. The $7400 "formula" came from the news report ... I'm not the math person, just the love/justice/theology person.

As for the LGBT lobby "staying home" ... imagine how much time and energy we could have put elsewhere if Rosa Parks and Martin King had stayed home.

Not gonna happen.

The time has come.

The tide is turning.

History is happening.

Brian R said...

Sadly Brian F comes from Australia and is an example of the Gospel of hate preached here in the Diocese of Sydney although he does his evil work on the other side of the continent.
He is happy to live with his wife and 2 kids but denies that pleasure to others.
Brian R (alph)

Pat Klemme said...

International commentary--impressive!
Actually this is an example of what a New Age friend of mine calls 'spiritual economics'. Never mind the shaky source of the notion, it is a prime example. When we live into the American and Christian (!) ideals of fairness and equality for ALL, we all become free of anger, hurt, resentment and bitterness. And that leaves us free to help one another, to love one another--as Jesus loved us. And as the Holy Spirit loves, comforts and teaches us.
I'm so tired of wasting energy and resources that could be put to such better use.
Thank you, Susan, for such a concrete example!

Brian F said...

Susan - I'm just saying that your argument doesn't make sense. In your own words: "$7400 per same-sex wedding TIMES the number of same-sex couples wanting to be married but denied equal protection by last month's Supreme Court decision PLUS the estimated $80 million spent by both sides on the Prop 8 campaign PLUS whatever donations are already coming in toward the next campaign for-and-against marriage equality EQUALS:"

so many child health insurances school teachers, police officers etc.

so if there were for example 1,000 couples waiting to to spend $7,400 on "weddings" = $7.4m plus $80m on prop8 campaigning plus say another $80m on the next round = a total of $167.4m that would be available to be spent on other social issues, which I would be personally all in favour of. I absolutely agree with you that we do not spend anywhere near enough in my own country on public housing, aged care, mental health, law and order etc etc. And the USA is in an even worse position than we are on these things. We are simply arguing the toss on where the money comes from to finance these improvements - it comes from the public taxation system, not from voluntary contributions for political campaigns.

And FYI Brian R the gospel I preach is one of God's love in action - check out John 3:16, Rom 5:8 and Eph 2:4-8

IT said...

Oh, but weddings keep people emplyed and in business. Sorry, but unless you argue that straight people shouldn't marry because their money should be spent elsewhere, you can't argue that about gays. And putting people to work and stimulating the economy isnot a bad thing.

I am so tired of this bigotry.